Metabarcoding of stomach contents from the Round Goby (Negobius melanostromus) in Pennsylvania

Science Center Objects

The Round Goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is a small benthic fish native to the Sea of Azov, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The first round goby found in the Pennsylvania waters was in 1996. Since then, round gobies are now the dominant benthic fish in many of the tributary streams in the Pennsylvanian waters of Lake Erie, including French Creek. French Creek is also home to a rich freshwater mussel assemblage. Historically, 65 species of mollusks were found in the state, of which 22 species have been extirpated. Today, twenty-five species are found in the French Creek. This includes populations that are either state or federally endangered. We want to determine if the round goby consumes any of the native mussel species from French Creek.

Using metabarcoding techniques with the Illumina MiSeq platform, we will determine if the round goby is preying on unique mussel fauna. The work will have broader impacts in that it addresses a biodiversity issue of national and global importance. This work is for Penn State University. We envision a broader impact associated with the training of two graduate students, two technicians, and two undergraduates who would work with the collaborating investigators.


Primary Objective: To determine if the invasive round goby is preying on unique mussel fauna

Technician using the Illumina MiSeq

The Illumina MiSeq platform has allowed us to develop new metabarcoding approaches to determine diets from fish stomach samples.

(Credit: Deborah Iwanowicz, USGS Leetown Science Center. Public domain.)


2 small gray/green fish laying on a rock

Two round goby from the Barge Canal near Sylvan Beach, NY

(Public domain.)